Impact | Negative
Civicus Rating | Obstructed
On June 21, the Legislative Assembly, controlled by the ruling party, approved a third extension of the state of exception, again on the grounds of quelling gang-related unrest. With this, constitutional rights such as of association and assembly will continue to be suspended, the security forces will maintain their extraordinary powers, and the special transitory regime for the acquisition of public goods and services will also extend until July 25. President Nayib Bukele assured that he is close to “winning the war against gangs”, after announcing that 40,000 gang members have already been arrested.
Days after the second extension of the state of emergency in May, the Assembly approved new budget allocations for the Attorney General’s Office for the acquisition of a technological platform to obtain information on illicit activities. This raised concerns among the public due to the possibility that it could be used for arbitrary spying on dissidents, as happened a few months ago when the use of Pegasus software by the State became public.
At the same time, the Justice Committee is studying an initiative to reform a law that regulates processes by which amnesties, pardons or commutations may be granted for criminals. The reform would affect the right of gang members to be released in this way, as well as that of officials and ex-officials who have committed crimes on account of their positions. The measure could be approved shorlty.